The principles of “leading” I am about to discuss apply to all leaders across the board. No matter what type of leader you may be, you must lead in a away that develops a team…not a group of individuals!
Throughout my years in ministry and in retail I have observed and learned a few simple principles that are highly successful in developing a team. It is a team you want. Not a group of individuals. When everyone is a team player, you have an effective, successful team. Whatever the mission before you…it will be accomplished.
The first principle in developing a genuine team is that you the leader must be a team player. You must be willing to get in there and rub elbows with your subordinates. Yes…you are the leader, but you must be a team player as well. Your subordinates will gain confidence in your leadership, and you will gain their respect if you are willing to lend a helping hand when necessary. As a matter of fact, the best way to train them is to show them, not just tell them.
As an example, I remember when I worked for a large, national retail chain. Our store general manager sat in his office and gave orders to everyone else. He only came out on the floor when there was a problem (or when the district manager showed up). We continuously failed our compliance evaluations because no one really knew what to do…as a team. When that manager was canned we got a totally different one. He rolled up his sleeves, got involved with the people, and taught us a lot about the business. He still gave the orders and made all the command decisions. He didn’t have the best personality, but he produced an effective, successful team. He was a team player and thus an effective leader. I learned more from him than any other manager.
Another crucial principle in leadership is the principle of praise and reward. Sadly this principle is missing in most management/leadership scenarios today. When members of your team perform well, praise them; reward them. When the entire team does well, do the same! I used to give “high-fives” to my team members when they reached a goal or performed well. Some thought it was silly at first. But after a short while I began to hear, “Where’s my high-five?” They even began to give one another high-fives! If a person never receives positive recognition and reward from leadership, but instead receives only correction from the same, that member will feel isolated from the team. When team members feel isolated, there really is no team. Don’t make your team members feel unimportant, because they really are very important!
Another principle I want to discuss is training. Training is crucial. When a team member feels prepared, they will perform in an effective manner. But when they are not prepared, they cannot be as effective. Sadly many team members receive more correction, even discipline for not doing it the right way…when they were never taught to do it the right way! The truth is…it is the leader’s fault for not insuring they are properly trained! Make sure your team is properly trained for the mission. This is a crucial leadership responsibility! And did I mention this was crucial?
Question: Is longevity in an employee/volunteer a sign of good leadership? Maybe, maybe not. Many people stay on for job security, but hate their job. Many people miss out on living their God-given destiny…simply for job security. They never actually live their dream. There are some however, who stay because they are truly content. They live their dream! These folks love their job/position and are quite effective at it. These folks are team players. And this should be the goal of every leader…to make team players.
So, are you driving a group of individuals or are you leading a team? Many leaders drive, and will never be effective at leading. Remember, leading has not only the mission in mind, but equally as important, the team member. Jesus is known as the great Shepherd, not the great cattle driver. He said of Himself, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) Like Jesus, any good shepherd/leader makes it paramount to blaze a trail for those he influences as well as get the mission accomplished. If you are a good leader, you are developing an effective team that will accomplish the mission and more!
Steve Hutto is a seasoned pastor and worship leader and works with local pastors and missionaries in Honduras and India. You can find encouraging articles about life, leading, and worship at www.stevehutto.com.
Republished with permission. Originally published at: http://www.stevehutto.com/2015/01/are-you-leading-team-or-driving-group.html